Are you doing what you love to do?
Are you doing what you love to do? Are you doing work that makes your heart sing? Are you doing work that expands your vision of yourself? If not, what could I do to convince you to do it?
Do you work at a job or at tasks that feel out of alignment with what you’re really meant to do? Do you feel that your best skills and abilities are going unused? If you do, please consider using them.
When I’ve talked to people who have worked at jobs that used less than their full abilities, I have learned this:
- They didn’t enjoy the work
- The work required them to use talents other than the talents they were naturally gifted with.
- Their days move slowly when they’re working.
You see, work is only work when your heart would rather be doing something else. When you’re doing the “work” your Heart would want you to do, it often doesn’t feel like work – even though it may require significant amounts of effort. Most often, it feels like play. People who do “work” that makes their heart sing report that they can’t wait to get up in the morning. They enjoy their day. They feel like their days fly by, and the work seems somewhat effortless – like it’s a part of them.
Interestingly, I find that when people do what makes their heart sing, they are able to make more money and achieve more recognition than if they were to follow the traditional success models.
All too often, teens are told: “OK, you’re graduating from High School. It’s time to get serious with life. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Choose a career that pays well. Choose a career that allows you to achieve status.” Many teens go on to study Law, Medicine, Engineering, Economics, Political Science, etc., for the money, success, and status these jobs will bring. What is often left out of that advice is “Do what makes your heart sing. Do what makes you the happiest. Do what allows you to become the next greatest version of yourself”. When they graduate from College, they find themselves working in careers that allow them to be “successful”, but not necessarily happy. The world is full of successful unhappy people.
Does that description fit you? Do you feel like you walk through life with your shoes on the wrong feet? Being in the wrong career saps you of your confidence. It saps you of your belief in yourself. Since you are not working at the tasks you are best at, you can be left feeling weak, lacking in confidence, and feeling like you “just don’t fit”. It robs you of the belief and confidence you need to go out and do what you DO want to do.
For all you teens out there, I have this advice: Take time to learn what you LOVE to do. Enjoy it. Do it better than anyone else, if that feels right to you. Find a way to get paid for doing that.
I will close this article with one of my favorite stories, pulled from the book “Soar with your Strengths“, by Donald O. Clifton and Paula Nelson. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. (By the way, I encourage you to purchase the book. It’s full of life truths).
Let the Rabbits Run: A Parable
Imagine there is a meadow. In that meadow there is a duck, a fish, an eagle, an owl, a squirrel, and a rabbit. They decide they want to have a school so they can be smart, just like people.
With the help of some grown-up animals, they come up with a curriculum they believe will make a well-rounded animal:
On the first day of school, little br’er rabbit combed his ears, and he went hopping off to his running class.
There he was a star. He ran to the top of the hill and back as fast as he could go, and, oh, did it feel good. He said to himself, “I can’t believe it. At school, I get to do what I do best”.
The instructor said: “Rabbit, you really have talent for running. You have great muscles in your rear legs. With some training, you will get more out of every hop.”
The rabbit said “I love school. I get to do what I like to do and get to learn to do it better”.
The next class was swimming. When the rabbit smelled the chlorine, he said “Wait, wait! Rabbits don’t like to swim”.The instructor said “Well, you may not like it now, but five years from now, you’ll know it was a good thing for you”.
In the tree-climbing class, a tree trunk was set at a 30-degree angle so all the animals had a chance to succeed. The little rabbit tried so hard he hurt his leg.
In jumping class, the rabbit got along just fine; in flying class, he had a problem. So the teacher gave him a psychological test and discovered he belonged in remedial flying.
In remedial flying class, the rabbit had to practice jumping off a cliff. They told him if he’d just work hard enough, he could succeed.
The next morning, he went on to swimming class. The instructor said “Today we jump in the water”. “Wait, wait. I talked to my parents about swimming. They didn’t learn to swim. We don’t like to get wet. I’d like to drop this course”.
The instructor said “You can’t drop it. The drop-and-add period is over. At this point you have a choice: Either you jump in or you flunk”.
The rabbit jumped in. He panicked! He went down once. He went down twice. Bubbles came up. The instructor saw he was drowning and pulled him out. The other animals had never seen anything quite as funny as the wet rabbit who looked more like a rat without a tail, and so they chirped, and jumped, and barked, and laughed at the rabbit. The rabbit was more humiliated than he had ever been in his life. He wanted desperately to get out of class that day. He was glad when it was over.
He thought that he would head home, that his parents would understand and help him. When he arrived, he said to his parents “I don’t like school. I just want to be free”.
“If rabbits are going to get ahead, you have to get a diploma”, replied the parents.
The rabbit said “I don’t want a diploma”.
The parents said “You’re going to get a diploma whether you want one or not”.
They argued, and finally the parents made the rabbit go to bed. In the morning the rabbit headed off to school with a slow hop. Then he remembered that the principal had said that any time he had a problem to remember that the counselor’s door was always open.
When he arrived at school, he hopped up in the chair by the counselor and said “I don’t like school”.
And the counselor said “Hmmm, tell me about that”.
And the rabbit did.
The counselor said “Rabbit, I hear you. I hear you saying you don’t like school because you don’t like swimming. I think I have diagnosed that correctly. Rabbit, I tell you what we’ll do. You’re doing just fine in running. I don’t know why you need to work on running. What you need work on is swimming. I’ll arrange it so you don’t have to go to running anymore, and you can have two periods of swimming”.
When the rabbit heard that, he just threw up!
As the rabbit hopped out of the counselor’s office, he looked up and saw his old friend, the Wise Old Owl, who cocked his head and said “Br’er rabbit, life doesn’t have to be that way. We could have schools and businesses where people are allowed to concentrate on what they do well”.
Br’er rabbit was inspired. He thought when he graduated, he would start a business where the rabbits would do nothing but run, the squirrels could just climb trees, and the fish could just swim. As he disappeared into the meadow, he sighed softly to himself and said “Oh, what a great place that would be”.
Do you feel like Br’er Rabbit? Do you feel like a runner who has been trying to develop swimming skills? Don’t spend another minute thinking yourself a failure. Instead, consider the success you can achieve when you do what you LOVE to do.
Something to think about….